It’s a perfect morning for the kids. As dawn breaks, they look out their frosty bedroom windows and see that there has been steady snowing all night. All around outside the house, there’s three feet of snow, with wind-blown drifts looming even higher.
Of course, this snowed-in scenario would never happen in Los Angeles, Miami nor Phoenix. However, it does occur at least once every winter in the cities and surrounding areas of Buffalo, Marquette and Minneapolis. In Valdez, Alaska, which boasts or complains of 327 inches annually, being snowed in for all of the winter months is common.
What can people do when parents can’t drive to work, and the delighted kids are told by TV and radio announcements that all schools will be closed for the day? If the snow plows can’t get to your street, maybe you’ll snowed in for two days. Most important of all, how do they fight the dreaded condition called cabin fever?
1. Family breakfast: On regular days, when kids and parents rush around to get out to school and work, breakfast is usually a hurry-up bite and run. Now that you’re locked in together, wouldn’t it be great if we had a real, old-fashioned breakfast?
If the parents heeded the snow warnings on the day before, the refrigerator will be stocked with fresh fruit, eggs, waffles, bacon and everything else needed for the special occasion. Everyone participates in preparing breakfast.
While Mom scrambles the eggs and fries the bacon, Dad cuts ingredients for fruit cups and makes coffee and hot chocolate: strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas and others. Kids set the table, pour out orange juice and toast bread and waffles from the freezer.
Everyone enjoys each other’s warm company as the snow piles up outside. Who could possibly be suffering from cabin fever?
2. Snow projects: If weather conditions allow, family outside projects could include a snowman and an igloo. With some old clothing from the attic and creative snow carving, the family can have a well-dressed snow sentinal standing guard outside the house.
For the more ambitious and energetic, everyone can pitch in to build an igloo. The easiest way is to use a carton large enough to fit two children inside and just pile on snow until there’s no outside trace of the carton showing and a door large enough for little ones to crawl in and out.
3. Back inside for warmth and lunch: After everyone comes in from snow fun, the parents will have mugs of steaming hot chocolate and a lunch of soup, sandwiches, cheesy macaroni and fresh-baked apple pie. Enjoy lunch and forget about the possibility of cabin fever.
4. Inside activities: Following lunch, a variety of games can fill the afternoon hours. Old-fashioned parlor games go well with the latest futuristic DVD contests. For those who prefer isolation by earphone, DVD movies on portable TVs or computers, audio CDs and Ebooks can pass the quiet time.
5. Indoor cookout: If there’s a fireplace in the home, set up for a camplike experience. Broil hot dogs and marshmallows on sticks or on a long-handled frying pan. If anyone in the family knows the lyrics to coom-by-ya, some campfire songs could accompany a cozy evening together.
6. Everyone to bed: The kids say their prayers of thanks for a fun day, and the parents pray for clear roads by the next morning. You may be snowed in again for another day, but with the right activities, indoors and out, no one in your happy family will suffer from cabin fever.